Do you remember 4th grade??? I do! And I think that’s why I’m having such a hard time right now.
I’m a mom. As soon as I found that out (yep, it was August 31st 2005 at 6pm on the dot) I was flooded with worry, panic, and GUILT! It’s like the seed of guilt grows along with the baby and when the baby is born so is this gut wrenching sense of guilt that never goes away. It’s totally insane. I’m sure dads get the same sort of feeling but I wouldn’t know. Dads are like unicorns to me. Good dad’s are like all-orange unicorns capable of time travel. (They just don’t exist.) But this guilt comes with owning the life of another human life. It like piggy-backs off of the “joy” of your new “blessing”… blah, blah, blah. When I found out I was growing a human inside me I knew I had to start making, not only good decisions, but the BEST decisions. I wanted to read everything, consult everyone, and be the best mom ever. I had to do everything I could to give my new bundle of joy the best foot forward. And Christ, the feeling never goes away.
Maybe I’m crazy? It’s quite possible. But that feeling persists to this day. I’m constantly beating myself up. I threw myself into therapy when C turned one. I dealt with a lot after I had him and I needed to dive into therapy a lot sooner. Anyway, when I started feeling less like a robot and more like a human robot, I decided I needed to get professional help. My therapist told me that I’m probably doing the whole parent thing right because I’m beating myself up and analyzing the job I’m doing. She insisted that a lot of parents don’t. They don’t question the work they put in. Maybe that’s the case. Whatever the case, it made me feel better about the guilt.
Being a parent is tough and it takes YEARS to figure out if you’re doing it right.
The guilt brings me to my next thought… being a helicopter. I work in student housing for a local university and I get to witness parenting almost on a daily basis. It’s given me a long list of “what not to do’s” and I feel better positioned to be a good mom. I won’t hover over C. I won’t make decisions for him. I won’t do work for him. I won’t answer questions he should answer. I won’t be part of his identity. He won’t be my whole identity. I’ll give him space to mess up. I’ll give him space to get things right too. I don’t want to know everything. I’ll trust him until he gives me a reason not to trust him. He’s an awesome kid and I just want him to be him. We won’t have one another forever (in many ways).
Lastly, let’s circle back. I remember 4th grade. I remember friends, my teachers, some awkward moments, and so much more. My little man is going into 4th grade. I can’t believe it. I’m not the first mom to say it or write it. I know. And I’m quick to dismiss other moms. Oh… they’re just saying it to say something. I mean, maybe that’s the case. But good god! It’s 4th grade! Homework gets serious. Boys/Girls start the boy/girl thing. It just feels less innocent. I learned stupid things that weren’t true about the boy/girl thing. LOL! I won’t elaborate but we all have those things we heard about that couldn’t be further from the truth. C’s like a dude now. It’s hard to let that sink in and just be.
Being a mom forces you to make decisions (small and big) constantly. It’s one thing to mess up your own life and get things wrong but you can’t do that to someone else. I always wanted to be a mom. I thought that was my one shot to truly give back to the world. It was also my chance to right the wrongs of my childhood. I always knew I’d be a mommy and I can’t forget this. I can’t forget my simple mission.